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A lesson to be learned by all from the Armenian Genocide

by Robert Kachadourian via

The Armenian Genocide Centennial is compelling evidence that humanity hasn’t learned very much in the previous millennia of its existence.

The genocide in the Middle East we currently see so vividly portrayed in our living rooms perpetrated by evil incarnate, unfortunately isn’t a new manifestation.

The last century has been called the bloodiest in the history of mankind. The Armenian Genocide was the beginning of those events — and was a precursor to those devastating occurrences that followed.

The Centennial Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide this year marks the carnage that resulted in slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians. Another 500,000 were orphaned.

The Armenian Genocide took place because of man’s inhumanity to man, indifference and the world’s very short collective memory.

Most of us read history in a vacuum and really think we aren’t affected by events that take place thousands of miles away. We also feel events that occurred years ago are far removed from us.

As we are already midway in the second decade of the 21st century, the events that affect us aren’t “over there”. The world has come into our living rooms through the communications explosion that has jettisoned us into the age of super telecommunications. Cyberspace has turned outer space into an obtainable dimension.

The Armenian Genocide was a wake-up call no one woke up to! The Jewish Holocaust wouldn’t have occurred if the Armenian Genocide had been recognized as an event that needed world attention.

When Hitler in 1939 was commenting about the carnage he was to lead the world to as he prepared for World War II, he was asked about his policies of extermination.

His answer was, “Who today remembers what happened to the Armenians”?. The die was cast.

Indeed no one really remembered enough to do anything about it. However, there were many future Nazis who were soldiers in the German Army in Ottoman Turkey during WWI who knew.

Rudolph Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz, and many of Hitler’s henchmen, saw what happened to the Armenians. It was genocide in its totality.

Based on the lack of ultimate concern by any entity who could make a difference, 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered, half a million were orphaned and the remnant were scattered to the four corners of the world.

What’s our response today? Genocide still continues. Sometimes it’s called ethnic cleansing. The results are the same.

The epic motion picture story of “Schinder’s List” captures the appropriate response. This award-winning masterpiece is the saga of what one individual did to save many hundreds from the Holocaust.

Oskar Schindler was an entrepreneur in occupied Poland who saw that the Jewish laborers he was using would eventually be sent to death camps.

He constantly created a list stating that he needed these people for the war effort. Thus, his response when he saw the need was responsible for saving several thousand lives.

“Schindler’s List” gave the appropriate response of “Never Again”. It’s screenplay was written by Steve Zaillian. Zaillian stated he drew upon the experience of his own Armenian background to compose such an outstanding drama depiction of the Holocaust.

The irony is that a person writing about the Holocaust drew from his grandparents experience in the Armenian Genocide. Was a thread of commonality there?

After 100 years, there’s a message here. People collectively at sometime, some how and some where must say unequivocally “Never Again”

So far we have failed. Current events are a stark reminder of this. Therefore, as you view programs, events and general references to the Genocide made in our area for this Centennial Year Commemoration, remember not to forget.

Indeed the “Forget Me Not” flower is the symbol of all the ceremonies. That says it all.

The “Forget Me Not” flower in reality must be thought of as having two parts. The first part states that we should never forget the Genocide. The second portion should elicit the response “Never Again”.

Genocide, Holocaust and other like manifestations must be eradicated from civilization’s vocabulary. Indeed there can be no civilized society if the barbarous acts referenced are present whatsoever.

The Armenian Genocide began 100 years ago. May it be said us that a century later marked the beginning of the end of such useless atrocities. In the meantime, “Forget Me Not”. That’s a beginning.

Robert Kachadourian of Bloomfield Hills is an area resident media consultant. He hosts ‘FYI’ which can be viewed in southeast Michigan.

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